I’ve been following Chuck Wendig’s blog for a while now, laughing, learning, indulging; you know, all the stuff blogs are supposed to do for you. This, however, is my first foray into his flash fiction world, which is something Chuck, based on his blog, seems to be keen on. This week, he’s challenged authors to write a thousand word piece about one of the original seven deadly sins. We all know Greed, right? Well, here’s my interpretation of that infamous sin…
“I lost it all, baby. There’s nothing left.”
Glen rolled his eyes skyward, apparently mentally calculating his net worth after a week’s worth of debauchery in Vegas.
“Well, I still have the house in Aspen. And the Bentley you love. And the Macy’s card probably has some room on it.”
Marissa tapped a lacquered nail on the custom-designed Italian granite countertop. She hated the house in Aspen. It wasn’t situated on the most prestigious street and besides, she hated skiing. With no money to peruse the shops, what was the point?
“I don’t love that Bentley,” she said. She had loved him in the Bentley. The things he did to her while they were parked in a not-entirely secluded area in that Bentley.
“And Macy’s? Really?” In her mind she was already planning, calculating her next move. She felt a twinge of regret for leaving, because Glen had been pretty damn phenom when he was between her legs, even when they weren’t in the Bentley. But sex didn’t make Marissa’a world go ‘round. Money did.
“I’ll send someone to pick up my things,” she said, sweeping her Louis Vuitton bag over her shoulder as she strode toward the door. To his credit, Glen didn’t even try to talk her out of leaving. He knew the rules, too.
Good thing he showed his true colors before she grew too old to stand a chance against the young tarts and starlets and blue bloods flooding the market, seeking their next sugar daddy. Glen had paid to make her breasts twenty-two, her face twenty-five, and the rest was up to her personal trainer and chef. She needed to find a replacement soon, because Paulie’s pricetag—while worth every red cent—was not one she intended to come out of her own pocketbook.
Marissa found her next mark in a matter of days. She bumped into him, literally. Anything but the typical tall, dark, and brooding, he practically had a sign affixed to his forehead proclaiming, “New Money. Come and get me, ladies.”
“Oh,” she said, while using his steel band of an arm to steady herself after their collision. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you there.” Liar. She had seen him, calculated his net worth, and marked him, all in the course of forty-five seconds.
Marissa was an expert at this game. And this would be her best conquest yet. Maybe she’d even marry this one. Hell, her uterus had been begging her for years to put it to good use. Maybe she’d let this one be the other half of her child’s perfect genes. And then he could pay for whatever necessary surgery was required to give her back her pre-baby body.
Her mark arched a sleek dark brow. “Do you normally wear glasses?”
Marissa blinked rapidly. Was that an insult? Or was he trying to be funny? She cleared her throat and threw back her shoulders, letting the girls brush against the bulges on his arm.
“Of course not. I have perfect eyesight. I’m Marissa, by the way.” She lifted a hand, tilted slightly, in case he was the sort to kiss the back instead of shake. Those men still existed in the world. Somewhere.
He slammed the webbing between his thumb and pointer finger against her hand, squeezed, and pumped vigorously. “Ben. Nice to meet you, Marissa.”
Ben. Like Benjamins. Marissa flexed her hand after he released it, trying to return the feeling to the nerves there. Hopefully he would be a tad gentler when manhandling her girly parts.
Or hopefully not.
“Are you free this evening, Ben? Would you like to take me to dinner at my favorite restaurant?” Often with men, it was best to be direct.
He threw his head back and laughed, a hearty, rolling sound that bounced off the walls of the nearest buildings. “Are you asking me out on a date, so I can buy you dinner?”
Marissa flipped an ash blond wave over her shoulder and thrust out her hip, resting her hand against the slice of skin visible between her micro mini and French silk blouse. “Yes.”
“That’s reality,” Marissa snapped. What was this guy’s deal?
“Nope. This is reality, sweetheart.” With a cheeky grin, Ben patted her on the head–yes, yes he did–and turned on his heel. Walking away, he didn’t even bother with a backward glance, although his laughter trailed behind him.
Furious, Marissa determined to put him out of her mind and went in search of a new mark.
Three months later, Paulie had quit returning her calls, her nails were chipped, and she’d gained two pounds. Which was almost laughable since she hadn’t stepped foot in a decent restaurant since she left Glen.
Speaking of—there he was, and damn, did he look good. Marissa stopped speed walking through the park and pulled her designer sunglasses down her nose. Yep, definitely Glen. And he was with an equally attractive guy.
Fury propelled her forward, despite knowing she was not even remotely at her best at the moment. Sweated off makeup, hair in a pony, sports bra and biker shorts would have to do. Something wasn’t right about this scene, and she was damn well going to find out what, regardless of her visual appeal.
“Marissa,” Glen called out when he spotted her heading toward them. His smile appeared genuine, and he even opened his arms as if welcoming a hug. She stopped short of stepping into his embrace and watched as he glanced at Ben.
“How do you—” She stabbed her finger into Glen’s chest. “—Know him?”
“Ben? He’s my financial adviser. And a friend. Convinced me I needed to stay the hell away from the tables in Vegas. You wouldn’t believe how much he’s grown my assets in the last few months, too. Crazy. Unreal.”
“I’ll bet.” Marissa crossed her arms and gave Ben the stink eye. He arched that perfect black brow and said nothing. “So I suppose this means you want to get back together now?”
God, she hoped so. Supporting herself was not going well. Besides, Marissa was beginning to think sex played a bigger role in making her world go ‘round than she initially thought.
Glen’s brow furrowed, as if he didn’t quite understand her question. Perhaps she needed to be less gruff about it. Forcing her unpainted lips into some semblance of a smile, she stroked a broken nail down his arm.
“I may have reacted a tad severely after your last trip to Vegas. Maybe we should go back to your place and get reacquainted. Are you driving the Bentley?” She glanced around, even though the parking lot was beyond that hill over there.
Glen stepped away from her, practically behind Ben. “Actually, Marissa, uh, I’m seeing someone.”
Ben grinned. The goddamn asshole grinned. Marissa narrowed her eyes and watched him, while Glen responded.
“She’s great. Runs a small nonprofit, helping homeless kids. So altruistic. She’s the one who introduced me to Ben, actually. She doesn’t make much at her job, but what she does for others makes it worth it. And what’s really awesome about her is, the more Ben grows my money, the more she wants to give away. Isn’t that sweet?”
Sweet? “That’s asinine.”
Glen shuffled his feet. “Yeah, I figured that’s what you’d think. Listen, Marissa, I want to thank you. You did us both a favor by leaving. I had no idea how shallow you were, and I probably would have kept on the way I was in life—trying to make as much money as I possibly could to make you happy, and then blowing it all by gambling because deep down, I knew I wasn’t happy. And now I am. Maybe someday, you’ll find happiness, too. Trust me, it’s not at the bottom of a designer purse.”
He turned to Ben. “Listen, I’m going to get out of here, go meet Kate. I’ll catch up with you later.”
Ben waved and he and Marissa watched Glen leave. When Marissa turned back to face Ben, he was still grinning.
“Who the hell are you, anyway? Are you some sort of freaking guardian angel or some shit?”
He chuckled and slung his arm around her shoulder, guiding her in the opposite direction. “Nope. Far from it. But Glen did let me borrow his Bentley. Want to go for a ride?”